Tag Archives: Summer Camp

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Our Thinkering Kids Summer Explorers Camp Update

Week 2 – Our Safari Week!

 

What a fun week we had with our Safari theme.  We all had fun exploring different animals and where they live in so many different ways. Not only did we do lots of learning and playing,  but we created fun crafts such as binoculars and vests using recycling materials, such as binoculars and vests,  that we used during other activities throughout the week.  We did yoga activities based on animal movements, and experienced food by creating giraffes, snakes and other animals using different fruits, bread and other food items. Great way to explore food for those who love it, and for those who tend to avoid new food items. Scavenger hunts where all about fostering thinking and problemsolving skills. Our exploratory campers had to figure out clues to figure out what animals were hiding for them to rescue. Activities about animals were a great motivation for our explorers to engage in writing and coloring activities. What a blast we had with this jungle safari adventure!

 

Week 3 – Celebration Week!

Last week it was all about celebrating our 4th of July.  In preparation of all the excitement and overflow of sensory activities our campers were going to be exposed to during the Independence Day celebration, our explorer campers engaged in many activities aimed at giving them opportunity to prepare them to what was coming up, and to practice self-control.  On Thursday, after the 4th of July, our older campers planned and organized a celebration party we were having on Friday, while our younger campers practiced dancing songs and created sensory firework and ornaments for the party. Friday came and we all had so much FUN! Seeing our explorer campers just having such a great time playing with their friends, dancing, playing with balloons, being kids! After all, research indicates that children learn best in an environment which allows them to explore, discover, and play

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Summer Is Officially Here!

In just a few days, school will be closing. Parents will not have to be thinking about homework or after school activities. What a relief!  Most children are looking forward to playing outside, going to summer camp, staying up later, and having free time at home. Unfortunately, for some children, the transition from school routine to Summer time can be difficult. Their schedule and routine will dramatically change.  Adjusting to new schedule and routine, or lack of, can be difficult and can trigger anxiety and explosive behaviors that can result in challenges not only for the children, but for their parents too.
Children who have difficulty being flexible tend to rely on the structure and routine that schools provide.  During school time, they pretty much can anticipate what will happen during the day. They know that from Monday to Friday they will go to school and they will have pretty much the same schedule each day.  They know the routine, including how to interact with their peers and teachers, do their classwork, participate in after care activities and, at the end of their day, they will go home. Once school is over, they will spend time having to adapt to either a new routine, or no routine at all.
During the Summer, those children who will be staying at home or with their grandparents, more than likely will have little or no structure during the day. They might have less opportunities to play with other children, and they will probably be immersed in watching TV or playing with electronics. For the children who will be enrolled in Summer camps, they will be facing a new routine, change of environment – having to adapt to a louder and busier setting, a change of the children and adults they will be seeing and interacting with, and a change of activities they will be participating in. 
For both, those who will be staying at home and those who will be attending camps, the changes in their routines might end up resulting on children having occasional tantrums or meltdowns. They may sometimes lash out if they’re frustrated or be defiant if asked to do something they don’t want to do. But when kids do these things repeatedly, or can’t control their tempers a lot of the time, it may be more than typical behavior. It is useful to see behaviors as a red flag that indicates something is happening, your child might be needing help in one or more areas to adapt to the  Summer changes.  All kids are different, but here are a few tips that may help ease the transition into summer:
  • Communication:  Talking with your child, as early as possible, about changes that will occur in their schedule during the summer.  This will help your child to prepare for what will be happening, minimizing the amount of stress these changes could cause.  If “behaviors” are already happening, it’s helpful to understand that behaviors are communication. Outbursts of unpleasant behavior may be caused by frustration over trying to communicate what they feel or a product of a routine change.
  • Being overwhelmed usually unable to handle frustration or anger in a more effective way and reduces the child’s ability to manage his feelings and express them in a more mature way.  If this is happening, it is useful to stay calm, talk to your child to find out what can be overwhelming him (sensory overload, challenges participating in activities, meeting new friends, feeling trapped or bored at home)  and help him to  come up with solutions to conflicts before they escalate more.  Breaking tasks down into one-step directions (“first, take off your shoes”), and talk to your child to prepare her for situations she is encountering (“you can let your counselor know you do not like to ….”) can all help avoid tantrums and meltdowns.
  • Recognize the warning signs. It’s important to know the signs that your child is getting overloaded to know what you can do to help them.  Sometimes the best thing you can do is to step back and observe your child or talk to her about her day. What is causing him to develop a temper tantrum every morning, or when you pick her up from camp?
  • If your child spends the day at a Summer Camp, it helps to engage in conversations with your child about his day.  You can ask about the new “friends” from camp, activities they did, what he liked and what was not so fun. If your child has a difficult time engaging in the conversation, you can obtain information from the camp counselors about activities they did during the day and ask your child questions such as: “I wonder what you did today…. Did you play soccer, or did you go in the pool?  Many times, if you give your child a little support by mentioning something they engaged in, your child will have an easier time to “tell” you what happened during that day.
  • Create either a calendar or a list of the new daily schedule to give your child a cue of how to move through the day. Visuals assist children in knowing exactly what they can expect (e.g., having breakfast, going to the park, swimming).
  • Talk to your child about sudden changes on schedule. By teaching your child that it’s not the end of the world when plans change, you can help him learn how to remain calm when their plans must change.
  • If your child will be attending  Summer Camp or specific new summer activities, introduce your child to the new activities or places beforehand to make the transition easier. It is a good idea to take your child to get familiar with the Summer Camp location, and to talk about what your child can expect, including the kind of activities your child may be involved during camp.
  • Setting up your home in a way that will create an engaging environment for your child will be helpful. For example, set up a water play area outside with a sprinkler, or a water table with different cups, funnels, and pool toys. Ask your child to help you set up an obstacle course that might include your swing set, or a soccer field. Inside you can create a sensory area for your child. Examples of things that are helpful to have in your house include a bean bag chair, a trampoline, a home-made tent, and bins of sensory toys that your child will enjoy. You can have bins full of sand, rice, corn, little pebbles. Your child can be looking for hidden objects, pouring from one container to another, burring their hands, filling up containers. These bins can provide your child with many hours of entertainment. 
  • Whether your child goes to Summer Camp, or stays at home, Summer brake brings time to be outdoors.  Your child might be swimming, riding bike, or going to the park.  Spending time outdoors can be fun and beneficial. As a parent, you will need to talk to your child about important safety behaviors, including wearing sun screen, and water and bicycle safety.
  • Avoid developing bad habits during the Summer. Going to bed very late at night because it’s Summer time, or spending hours and hours of screen time can be habits that will cause a lot of problems once school starts again. Screen hours will also decrease the amount of time your child can use to just actively  PLAY.   
  • Play dates with peers are a critical to social development. Reach out to your neighbors, friends and family, or to the parents of your child’s classmates, and plan some playdates.
  • Encourage your child to explore new things, create new games, play with new friends, and have as much FUN as they can.  In the morning, on your way to camp or grandma’s house, talk with your child about the possible games and friends he might be playing with that day,  or any other activity or field trip she might be engaging into.  
  • Summer can be a wonderful time for growth in all areas. Summer activities  allow children to become independent and selfconfident, while socializing and making new friends and learning new things in a positive environment.
  • Summer time is a great opportunity to find ways that you and your child can play together. For more information about how important PLAY is, please visit us at The Power Of Play  to get more information about it.  
 
From the Desk of: Veronica Cabrera, OTR/L
Occupational Therapist  
Founder and Owner of Thinkering Kids Therapy
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The Power of Play – Build Memories, Build Skills

My memories from childhood involve vivid images, varied odors, scents, flavors,voices and textures. I see myself dressed up in my mother’s clothes, wearing high heels and green eyeliner all over my face. I see myself helping my grandfather prepare the pasta for his home-made lasagna or counting the dry beans for the frijoles. I see myself cuddling under the blankets and my grandmother singing bedtime songs. I see myself with my brother in the backyard playing with the water hose, full of mud. I still see my painted face, smell the lasagna, taste the frijoles, hear the songs and feel the mud.All these sensory rich experiences and personal interactions provided the base for the development of my cognitive, motor, speech, language and social emotional skills. These experiences were “accidental”. They were not purposely designed by my family to stimulate my skills. They were just part of life. What do you remember from your childhood? Probably your memories are very different to mine and they might involve other family members, caregivers, teachers or peers. All these memories are contained in the album of experiences that facilitated the development of your unique set of skills in all areas of development.What experiences are we providing to our children in our modern lives? What memories are they saving in their album? Our hectic non-stop weekly routines and responsibilities make it difficult to provide our children with these rich playing experiences that build memories and skills . We tend to turn to the I-pads, I-phones and gaming devices to keep our children quiet and busy while we get everything done. We use them as pacifiers, nannies and “play-pals”. Sometimes this is OK. I do it too! These are different times and we need to take advantage of the many benefits technology brings. We need to embrace it, but we also need to remember that it does not replace the quality and depth of personal interactions. When used too often, it can isolate our children and keep them out of our world; they create their own little world of images and voices. When I was a child there were no I-phones or I-pads, so I had to go to the kitchen with grandpa or go to my mother’s closet and get creative! Now days children are bombarded with stimuli that not necessarily build solid sensory, motor, cognitive and language skills. Unlike my parents and grandparents, today parents must be conscious and purposely provide experiences that contribute to building developmental skills.
How can you do it? By bringing them to the closet! By bringing them to the kitchen! By letting them get wet and dirty! By letting them hear our voice, YOUR voice! By singing, dancing, creating, PLAYING!
 When caregivers engage in play activities with their children, they have an opportunity to facilitate and reinforce the growth of their skills across all areas of development. Help your child build memories with vivid images, varied odors, scents, flavors, voices and textures! Help them build skills!
From the Desk of: Maria Padilla, MS, CCC-SLP
Speech and Language Therapy
Thinkering Kids Therapy

 

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Join Our 2018 Summer Explorers Camp!

 

TKidsT  2018 Summer  Explorers Camp 

Help your little ones make the most of their summer by enrolling them in the TKIDST Summer Explorers Camp.  

Our explorers will work on increasing independence in everyday tasks, expanding and negotiating ideas, mastering self-care skills, exploring our senses through play, strengthening communication skills and fostering friendships all while making awesome memories!    

Read more about it.  Space is limited. Contact Us!